AAR and SBL Sessions 2012

AAR and SBL Sessions 2012 August 4, 2012

The program book for the Society of Biblical Literature 2012 Annual Meeting and the program book for the American Academy of Religion 2012 Annual Meeting, which will take place together in Chicago in November, are both now online. I’ll be reading one paper and serving on one panel at the SBL conference, and will be part of a group exploring the possibility of creating a new program unit at AAR. Here are the details of the sessions:


Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism


9:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Room: S505a – McCormick Place

Theme: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism: New Work

Nicola Denzey Lewis, Brown University, Presiding

Michael Kaler, York University

Religious Experience and the Gospel of Truth (30 min)

Eric Crégheur, Université Laval

The motif of the five trees in the “Gospel of Thomas” and in ancient literature (30 min)

Marvin Meyer, Chapman University

“The Stranger from Codex Tchacos and the Gospel of Mary: More Fragments of the Tchacos Book of Allogenes” (30 min)

Kathleen Gibbons, University of Toronto

Valentinus’ Moral Psychology (30 min)

James F. McGrath, Butler University

Revisiting the Relationship between the Mandaean Book of John and the New Testament (30 min)

Here’s the abstract for the above paper:

During the first half of the twentieth century, there were circles in which one could practically take for granted that Mandaean sources stemmed from followers of John the Baptist, and thus provided the background for at least some sections of early Christianity (as Rudolf Bultmann famously maintained in relation to the Gospel of John, for instance). The tide turned against this view, and not without reason. But for the most part the specific claims made by critics of that stance did not do justice to the Mandaean sources any more than the scholars whose views they opposed. Since then, additional Mandaean texts have been published, and English translations of works previously unavailable in English are underway. Moreover, since then the Nag Hammadi texts have been published and allow for the question of the relationship between Mandaean and Christian sources, and between Mandaeism and Christianity, to be correlated with other Gnostic sources that were not available in the time of Reitzenstein and Bultmann on the one hand, and their critics such as Dodd on the other. On the one hand, the date of the Mandaean sources makes it inherently more likely that similarities and overlaps with New Testament texts are due to interaction with those texts and with Christianity on the part of the Mandaeans, rather than vice versa. On the other hand, many features of the Mandaean treatment of the figure of John the Baptist, his parents, and his wife and children, are not easily accounted for in these terms. This paper examines whether dependence in one direction or another, mutual dependence on earlier tradition, or some combination of all of these types of interaction best accounts for the similarities and differences between the Mandaean Book of John and the Gospels of Luke and John in the New Testament in particular.


And here’s the panel session:


Now Presenting: Preparing, Submitting & Delivering Conference Papers


4:00 PM to 5:15 PM

Room: N134 – McCormick Place

Theme: Hosted by the SBL Student Advisory Board

Presenting at a conference entails much more than the brief delivery of an academic paper. In this session, our esteemed panelists will discuss how to successfully navigate the process of proposing and presenting your work. In particular, they will discuss the ins-and-outs of composing and submitting an abstract as well as the do’s and don’ts of stepping on stage to deliver the final product. If you plan to be a participant in the SBL and/or other academic conferences, you will not want to miss the insights offered in this session sponsored by the SAB.

T. Michael W. Halcomb, Asbury Theological Seminary, Presiding

Clare K. Rothschild, Lewis University, Panelist (20 min)

James McGrath, Butler University, Panelist (20 min)

David R. Bauer, Asbury Theological Seminary, Panelist (20 min)

Discussion (15 min)


Here’s the one from AAR:


Exploratory Sessions
Theme: Late Antiquity East
Jorunn Buckley, Bowdoin College, Presiding
Sunday – 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Scholars who work in “Late Antiquity East” have long been somewhat homeless in the AAR /SBL. There is no Zoroastrian slot anymore, nor a Manichaean one. We aim to gather interested fellow-scholars for a consultation at the AAR Annual meeting in Chicago, Nov 2012, to discuss how we can establish a new unit in the AAR for our interrelated fields of study. We are not Bible-oriented, but work in areas such as: eastern forms of early Christianity, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, late Babylonian religion, Jewish eastern traditions, and Mandaeism.


James McGrath, Butler University
Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Haverford College
Yuhan Vevaina, Stanford University
Charles Häberl, Rutgers University
Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, Northern Arizona University
John Reeves, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Alexander Treiger, Dalhousie University
Jason BeDuhn, Northern Arizona University
Jennifer Hart, Stanford University


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